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Of all the CIA books spawned in the last decade, this one seems the least likely to blow anyone's cover or demand Congressional review. Analyzing the reasons behind the crisis of confidence within the agency, Newsweek correspondent Martin explores the question: Have Soviet ""moles"" crippled the CIA or have its near-mortal wounds been self-inflicted? To put the CIA-KGB war in perspective, the author catalogues skulduggery since 1945, focusing on the careers of two of our most influential clandestine operatives. One is James J. Angleton, the Ivy League OSS veteran and leader of the search for Soviet spies in the CIA's ranks; the other, hard-drinking, gun-toting FBI reject William Harvey who actually put the finger on No. 1 Soviet ""mole"" Kim Philby, but later blundered in East Berlin when he wiretapped Communist phone lines. The tunnel, discovered by the Russians in 1956, gave us our biggest espionage black eye prior to the Gary Powers U-2 affair. After bungling another intelligence assignment in Rome, Harvey was shipped home and, finally, forced into resigning. CIA Director Colby hounded Angleton into retirement after this agent's mole-hunting resulted in more harm than good. (Meanwhile, it was assumed by the press that Angleton was being fired for spying on American antiwar protestors.) To anyone familiar with Powers' recent profile of Richard Helms and the CIA, The Man Who Kept the Secrets (1979), there's nothing much new here--and Martin supplies no edginess or immediacy that would make the story worth re-reading.

Pub Date: March 19th, 1980
Publisher: Harper & Row